How to Teach Vocabulary Effectively?

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1 Question 1: What needs to be taught? 1. Form (pronunciation and spelling) 2. grammar 3. collocation 4. aspects of meaning: denotation, connotation, appropriateness 5. aspects of meaning: meaning relationships such as synonyms or antonyms 6. word formation (prefixes & suffixes) Question 2: How to teach new vocabulary? Step one: presenting new words Step two: helping students remember new words Step three: making sure students make the new words their own Step One: presenting new words (meaning & form) 1. explanation: concise definition /detailed description 2. using visual images realia pictures masking drawing scales 3. using gestures and actions mime gesture facial expression action 4. showing lexical relations synonyms antonyms associated ideas, collocation Step Two: helping students remember new words use memorizing games and activities 1. matching words 2. labeling words 3. sequencing words 4. guessing words 5. eliminating words 6. classifying words 7. Others? 5. words in context dialogues role play drama stories songs rhymes & poems videos 6. guessing / predicting 7. translation - 1 -

2 Note: It s better if items can be linked with each other, or with ones already known, through meaning-or sound-association It s better to teach vocabulary in separated, spaced sessions than to teach it all at once. In other words, words will be learned better if they are taught briefly at the beginning of a lesson, reviewed later in the same lesson, and again in the next than if the same total amount of time is used for learning the words all at once. This needs careful lesson-planning, but will repay the efforts. Teach more important new words first or at the beginning of a lesson. Step Three: making sure students make the new words their own 1. recycle words 2. personal dictionary (word notebooks/vocabulary books) marking word stress adding pictures putting a L1 translation putting the word into context adding a synonym / 3. mapping a word family 4. personalize the new words 5. design wordsearch games / picture labeling /crosswords / Bingo / dominoes / puzzles/ charts or survey for their peers Question 3: How to test vocabulary 1. Multiple choice 2. matching 3. odd one out 4. writing sentences 5. dictation-translation 6. gap-filling 7. gap-filling with a pool of answers 8. translation 9. sentence completion Online Learning Resources & Tools Teaching Vocabulary: Two Dozen Tips and Techniques English Vocabulary Word Listswith Games, Puzzles and Quizzes LearnEnglishKids An authoring tool: HOT POTATO A Collocation Tool: UWiLL - 2 -

3 Word Map What a student may need to know about an item: Affixes, prefixes, suffixes meaning form Collocation, idioms Lexical relation, synonyms, antonyms New vocabulary pronunciation spelling Situation, context Connotation Particular grammatical pattern - 3 -

4 ways to present a new word: Visual images Teaching others mime guessing, matching, categorizing Ways to present a new word Synonyms antonyms context translation definition ways to review a new word: Using it in the diary Write personal sentences Example sentences Keeping a bank of cards Ways to review a new word Matching, categorizing Creative writing Giving tests to others Teaching others - 4 -

5 Contextualized Vocabulary Activities Using songs, chants, pictures and games Simon says What s in the picture? Word Grouping, Classifying, or Word Formation or Derivatives Word Association Categorizing Word grouping Singular / plural Odd-Man-Out Rewrite a short passage by using a different tense Choose irregular verbs from a few lessons in the textbook Compound words Matching action words in column A with nouns in column B Matching descriptive words to things, people or place Match new vocabulary with definition Antonyms Guessing Word Meanings From Context Multiple Choice exercise Cloze procedure 1) fill-in-the blanks 2) word choice exercise using N, V, Adj 3) crossword puzzle 4) circle the correct word to complete each sentence 5) word search activity Matching Activities 1) using sentence strips 2) using Q & A strips Using chants to expand vocabulary Bingo Odd-Man-Out Categorize concept words Grouping descriptive words for each event Construct words from root words Comparative and superlatives quiz Countries, nationalities and languages Same or different 1) synonyms 2) antonyms Which belongs to what? Substitution activities Review word bank vocabulary Words with multiple meanings Cloze sentences Using popular songs Classifying The Big-Little Dictation with a difference Domain vocabulary affixes Brainstorming ideas to elicit 1) prefixes feeling words from the 2) suffixes class for writing them on the connections board Words with Multiple Meanings Masculine and Feminine activity Semantic Mapping Contextual guessing of idioms - 5 -

6 10 STEPS TO INTRODUCE VOCABULARY (From Do and Understand) 1. Show picture flashcards. 2. Name each word as attaching it to the blackboard. 1. Say and mime the pictures. 2. Encourage students to imitate your gestures or movements. 3. Repeat the new words several times. 4. Leave out the gestures and only say the words. 5. The children make the correspondent gestures. 1. Children still close their eyes. 1. Ask your students to open their 2. Say the words aloud and ask eyes. the children to repeat after you. 2. Mouth one of the words 3. Vary your voice (whisper, without making any sound. shout, and talk in high pitch) 3. Let your class guess which and get the class to imitate you. word it is by reading your lips. 4. Encourage your students to visualize the corresponding drawings in their minds. 1. Present the written form of the words. 2. Hold up the word cards and pronounce them at the same time. 3. Do this with all the words that are to be introduced. 1. Ask the children to close their eyes again. 2. Remove one or more drawings or word cards form the board. 3. Ask the children to open the eyes and find what s missing. 1. Quickly flash the words cards ant let your students shout out the words. 2. The speed of the presentation effectively prevents your class from trying to read the word letter by letter. 3. When children call out the correct word, you should repeat it and tack the written version next to the appropriate drawing. (Or have a child do it). 4. You can flash your card upside down or sideways. 5. You can also present a card with just the first letter of the word. 1. Write a number next to each word (drawing + written words) on the board. 2. Tell your class they have one minute to concentrate on the numbers and words, and to remember which word goes with which number. 3. After time s up, ask them to close their eyes. 4. Say a number and get them to remember the word that goes with it. 1. Then pronounce each of the words again and point to the appropriate pictures. 2. Ask your students keep silent but concentrate on listening to your pronunciation only. 3. Children can close their eyes or focus their gaze elsewhere. 4. Explain to them why they shouldn t try to repeat after the teacher. 1. Remove all the cards and drawings from the board. 2. Ask the children to name the words. 3. Each time a child correctly names a word, he/she should point to the spot on the board where his word was. 4. Write the first letter of this word on the spot. 5. (Or) you point to a certain spot on the board and get the class to name the word from memory

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